The head of Russia’s Central Elections Commission told reporters that the number of candidates in the upcoming presidential election will not exceed eight, noting that only two people have been registered so far.
“We already have two registered candidates – Vladimir Zhirinovsky and Pavel Grudinin. Six more candidates have submitted their supporters’ signatures. It is clear that there will be no more than eight candidates on the ballots,” Central Elections Commission head Ella Pamfilova said at a press conference following the conclusion of the period during which presidential hopefuls are required to submit their supporters’ signatures to the commission.
The two registered candidates were able to skip this stage, however, because they represent parties that currently hold parliamentary seats. Zhirinovsky is the founder and leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, and Grudinin is backed by the Communist Party, despite being non-partisan.
Other potential candidates in the race are incumbent President Vladimir Putin, who is running as an independent, Grigory Yavlinsky of the Yabloko party, business ombudsman Boris Titov who is backed by the Party of Growth, Maksim Suraikin of the minor leftist party Communists of Russia, TV host and celebrity Kseniya Sobchak, who represents the Civil Initiative party, and veteran leftist politician Sergey Baburin who is backed by the People’s Union party.
In a poll conducted by state-run agency VTSIOM in late January, 71 percent of respondents said they intended to vote in the March 18 election. About six percent said they did not plan to, and 11 percent said they had not yet decided.
In a separate VTSIOM poll, 70 percent of the respondents said they would support the incumbent president. Just over seven percent said they would vote for Grudinin, and just under six percent said they would vote for Zhirinovsky. Support for other candidates stands at around one percent or less.